One in four women, and one in six men will experience domestic abuse in their lifetime – ranging from coercive control to murder. All employers will have some people who have faced or are facing domestic abuse, either as victims, witnesses, or perpetrators. Many employers find that domestic abuse reduces performance at work, increases absenteeism and may lead to mental illness.
In 2012, it was estimated that the overall cost of gender-based violence to both victims and society in the UK is approximately £26 billion annually. This includes an estimated cost to the economy of £3.4 billion, due to absences from work resulting from injury. (The European Institute for Gender Equality, 2014).
When employers demonstrate that they are aware of domestic abuse, and make staff aware of the services that are available, this can help to reduce the wall of silence about domestic abuse that prevents many from seeking help.
Many employers’ leaders are already taking action in their organisations – for example developing policies on domestic abuse, raising awareness amongst employees, training senior staff, managers and ambassadors on how to identify those who may need help, sharing best practice with other employers, offering direct help to staff or signposting them to where it can be found.
We are a Network of more than 170 companies and public sector organisations who have come together, to exchange information about best practice, and to encourage, promote and develop action to help staff who are enduring domestic abuse, or who are perpetrators. We work to also help those who witness or work colleagues who know support victim. We hold network meetings once a quarter at a central London venue on topics suggested by member employers.
Building on the work of the Vodafone Foundation’s TecSOS project the House of Commons, as an employer, has taken a key role through its HR Department in supporting our Network.
– The Vodafone Foundation is funding a major research programme to understand barriers to action in the workplace, the finding will be presented at the conference in November.
– The Insurance Charities are funding a Toolkit for employers which is being created by Business in the Community and Public Health England.
– The BBC, one of our employer members, is hosting a major conference in November and Annington Homes is providing funding for the conference media input.
– Inclusive Employers are providing support to the initiative.
and finally, the House of Commons is providing administrative support as well as hosting network meetings.
Would you be willing to help the Network to develop, by taking action for your staff and by sharing what you do with other employers? There is no joining fee. The only request is that you take action for your staff. If you would like to know more, please contact us.
The initiative has a steering group chaired by Elizabeth Filkin CBE.
Members of the steering group are:
Elizabeth Filkin. C.B.E. Chair, Independent Advisory Group, Marston Group. (Formerly, Chair, Annington Homes, Several NEDs, Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards.)
Jenny Watson. C.B.E. NED Financial Ombudsman Service. (Formerly, Chair, U.K. Electoral Commission.)
Sir Martin Donnelly. KCB, CMG. (Formerly, Permanent Secretary, Department of International Trade.)
Sue Akers. C.B.E. QPM. (Formerly, Deputy Assistant Commissioner, Metropolitan Police Service.)
Catherine Russell. CSR Lead, Vodafone Ltd.
Grace Travis. Diversity and Inclusion Manager, House of Commons.
Dr.Janet Reibstein. Psychologist. Prof Emerita, University of Exeter; Relate National Clinical Advisory Board; Faculty, The Child and Family Practice.
Pamela Zaballa. Associate Director of Innovation and Partnerships, Hestia. Trustee, CAADV
Charlotte Suttle. Inclusion and Diversity Consultant, Inclusive Employers.
Michael Naish. (Formerly, Victim Support.)
Jabbar Sardar. HR Director, BBC Studios.
Fiona Cannon. O.B.E. Group Director, Responsible Business and Inclusion, Lloyds Banking Group.
Steve Maule. Head of Apprenticeships and Qualifications, Lookers plc. Trustee, Citizens Advice.
Stephen Fletcher, Founder and CEO, the Leader’s Club, North-West
David Brech, Managing Partner, Agenda for Change, Gloucestershire
We are always looking for people who want to help with the initiative, contact us if you can support us.